About the Zoning Board of Appeals

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) as a quasi-judicial body charged under the provisions of Chapter 40A of the Massachusetts General Laws. The ZBA is the Special Permit Granting Authority for:

  • Variances
  • Special Permit Applications, including Special Permits with Design Review and Special Permits with Site Plan Review
  • Appeals by aggrieved parties of administrative or enforcement decisions
  • Comprehensive Permit Petitions (MGL Chapter 40B)

 

  • Notes for Applicants

  • Board Members

  • Reports & Decisions

  • Meetings

Development Review Standards:

  • Please be advised that, per the standards set out in Article 15 of the Somerville Zoning Ordinance, a development review application is not complete until all required community and Design Review meetings have been held, all necessary information has been submitted, and all fees have been paid. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed, will not be publicly noticed, and will not be scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff will work with applicants to discuss meeting dates and review application materials.
  • Applications for large projects may require a longer review period and evaluation by multiple City departments before being deemed complete and scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff reserves the right to ask for additional information or to change meeting dates.
  • The list of anticipated public meeting dates for this Board can be found here.

Orsola Susan Fontano, Chair

Orsola Susan Fontano is a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and also volunteers with the Elections Department, the Council of Aging, and the Art's Council. Some of her past affiliations include the Historic Preservation Commission, member of the award-winning Somerville All-American City delegation, and founding president of East Somerville Main Streets. She is self-employed, operating Up, Up & Away balloons since 1981 and managing her sister business Nefertiti Hair Salon since 1977.

Josh Safdie, Clerk

Josh Safdie, AIA, NCARB, is a Principal at KMA, an architecture and consulting practice. He serves as the co-chair of the Access Committee for the Boston Society of Architects and has received awards from the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board and the Boston Preservation Alliance for projects merging preservation and accessibility. He is also an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a contributor to Architecture Boston magazine.

Elaine Severino

Elaine Severino is a former educator and small business owner. She spent 5 years serving on the Zoning Task Force Committee that rewrote the previous Somerville Zoning laws and has served in the Zoning Board of Appeals for over 15 years. She is also a member of the Somerville Garden Club and dedicated to helping create better green spaces in Somerville.

Anne Brockelman

Anne Brockelman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is an architect with two decades of experience in the design profession. She is an Associate Principal and Director of Sustainable Design at Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects (PDR), a full-service architectural firm specializing in cultural and institutional projects, with a focus on higher education. Her diverse experience includes all project phases from planning, programming through construction, and various project types such as campus and facilities master plans, libraries, and academic buildings. Ms. Brockelman graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Art History and Studio Art, and holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.

Katherine Garavalgia, Alternate

 

Reports and Decisions

PLEASE NOTE: Applications made before April 15, 2011 are not included in this listing and can be found by clicking here.

Street Number Case Number First Hearing Datesort ascending Decisions Other Reports Updated date
McGrath Hwy 450 P&Z 22-061 May 25, 2022 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Sign Plans
PDF icon Narrative
05/27/2022 - 10:30am
Broadway 162 P&Z 22-072 May 23, 2022 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Sign Plans
05/26/2022 - 4:01pm
Somerville Ave 304 P&Z 21-087 May 19, 2022 PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Floor Plans
PDF icon Distance to Schools
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Transportation Impact Study
PDF icon Neighborhood Meeting Report
PDF icon Staff Memo 05/04/2022 - 11:04am
Somerville Ave 518-524 P&Z 21-063 May 19, 2022 PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Floor Plans & Perspectives
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Transportation Impact Study
PDF icon Neighborhood Meeting Report
PDF icon Staff Memo 05/16/2022 - 7:35am
Assembly Row 350 P&Z 22-064 May 19, 2022 PDF icon Staff Memo 05/17/2022 - 10:16am
McGrath Hwy 35 P&Z 21-156 May 18, 2022 PDF icon HV Drawings
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon HV Narrative (Driveway in Frontage Area)
PDF icon HV Narrative (Front Setback)
PDF icon HV Narrative (Parallel to Front Lot Line)
PDF icon Exhibit A
PDF icon Exhibit B
PDF icon Staff Memo (with attachments) 05/05/2022 - 4:15pm
Broadway 595 P&Z 22-018 May 18, 2022 PDF icon ZBA Decision
PDF icon Permit Extension Decision
PDF icon Extension Request Narrative
PDF icon Explanation of Delay
PDF icon Staff Memo 05/27/2022 - 10:24am
Assembly Row 350 P&Z 21-137 May 05, 2022 PDF icon Executive Summary
PDF icon Application Forms
PDF icon Zoning Narrative
PDF icon Utility Narrative
PDF icon Stormwater Narrative
PDF icon Appendix B
PDF icon Appendix C
PDF icon Appendix D - LEED
PDF icon Appendix E - MMP
PDF icon Appendix F - TAP
PDF icon Appendix G
PDF icon Final MMP
PDF icon UDC Recommendation
PDF icon Neighborhood Meeting 1
PDF icon Neighborhood Meeting 2
PDF icon PUD Amendment
PDF icon Appendix A - Civil Drawings (Plans)
PDF icon Appendix A - Architectural Drawings (Plans)
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon Revised Staff Memo
05/17/2022 - 10:14am
Washington St 263 P&Z 22-044 May 04, 2022 PDF icon ZBA Decision (Original) PDF icon Staff Memo 04/28/2022 - 6:46pm
Beacon St 292 P&Z 22-047 May 04, 2022 PDF icon ZBA Decision (Original) PDF icon Request Letter PDF icon Staff Memo 04/29/2022 - 9:07am
Clyde St 26 P&Z 22-038 Apr 20, 2022 PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Supplemental Plan Set
PDF icon Staff Memo 04/27/2022 - 3:21pm
McGrath Hwy 15 P&Z 22-039 Apr 20, 2022 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Extension Request
PDF icon Recorded Decision
PDF icon McGrath 15 Staff Memo.pdf 05/03/2022 - 12:04pm
South Street 33 P&Z 22-030 Mar 21, 2022 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plot Plan
03/24/2022 - 10:44am
McGrath Hwy 14 P&Z 22-019 Mar 10, 2022 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Dimensional Compliance Table
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Drawings with Stamp
03/10/2022 - 11:55am
Elm St 236 P&Z 22-020 Mar 09, 2022 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Sign Plans
PDF icon Sign Elevations
03/09/2022 - 11:14am

Pages

Subscribe to Reports and Decisions

Zoning Board of Appeals meetings are generally held on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

Please see published legal notifications and online agendas at somervillema.gov/events. Agendas are published at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting. The meeting dates below are tentative: meetings will only be held if there are items of business on the agenda to be addressed at the meeting, and meetings may be rescheduled or cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.